TRICKS CRIMINALS USE
10 Popular Travel Scams Around the World
You may have heard of, or fallen victim to, the old "catch my baby while we pick your pockets" scheme. The new class of tourist rip-off makes that look like chump change.
While some pickpockets make their living on not being noticed, others do it by getting aggressive and in your face-then ripping you off while you're distracted. Rome is home to the infamous "fake baby" ruse, which sees a woman trip and throw a bundled doll into your arms, or just drop it on the ground, in an attempt to draw your attention away from pickpockets, often children, nicking your wallet or making away with your camera bag.
Solution: Beware of women who "throw" their babies or any other unusual distractions.
The cramped and congested passageways of Cochabamba's famed La Cancha-the largest market in Bolivia-make it the perfect staging ground for "the squeeze." Overwhelmed by the chaos and distracted by the overflowing stalls, you might find yourself suddenly pressed among a group of burly men, unable to move your arms. By the time the surprise wears off, the thugs have already rummaged through your pockets and disappeared.
Solution: Pay extra attention at cross-streets, which lend themselves to fast approaches and easy escapes.
It costs nothing to spend the day at Barú Island's Playa Blanca, which with its white sands and crystal Caribbean surf might be Colombia's most beautiful beach. Lying on your towel, you might feel a pair of warm hands on your shoulders, and hear the soothing voice of a woman saying to accept this massage as a gift. Tempting, but if you aren't prepared to part with at least $10 in pesos, the price will be an especially histrionic fight.
Solution: Remember, there is no such thing as a free massage.
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